France’s Pierre Le Corre just slipped off the podium in a four-way sprint for the U23 men’s title in Auckland last year, but he made sure history didn’t repeat in London as he claimed the 2013 Under23 Men’s World Championship title in a sprint in Hyde Park.
Le Corre was in a lead group of five for most of the 10km run before he, Spain’s Fernando Alarza and Australia’s Declan Wilson made their move at the start of the bell lap. They went toe to toe for most of that final three kilometres, before the Frenchman put the burners down on the finishing chute.
“I don’t know what to say, I am very glad, it was a hard race, I’m very happy,” Le Corre said.
I was tired at the begging (of the run) after the bike, I wasn’t feeling good. But then there was three of us and I started to believe and I’ve got a gold medal.”
Alarza outstayed Wilson for silver, his second consecutive U23 Men’s World Championship silver medal after last year finishing second behind Australia’s Aaron Royle. But after a year interrupted by injury, he wasn’t too disappointed with his day.
“It was a little difficult because I got an injury earlier this year, so I wasn’t able to race much. But I had hopes of coming in and doing a bit more than last year,” he said. “It was a very hard race, the swim was very good because I came in third or fourth. And then the bike was very easy but the end of the race was very, very hard and I am very happy for the silver medal.”
It was Wilson’s biggest ITU achievement to date, in what was only his third Olympic distance triathlon race and said partly because of that, he had a nothing to lose attitude.
“Not at all. I’m just really happy to be part of this environment. It’s a great opportunity for me to put the green and gold on, I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “I had absolutely no expectations of myself. I wanted to come in and have fun and I was able to do that. To get a good result is just a bonus.”
Despite the air temperature increasing, it was still cold enough in the Serpentine to warrant a wetsuit swim and it was Russia’s Andrey Bryukhankov that carried his usual World Triathlon Series form into the first leg. He led at the first lap changeover, closely followed by Germany’s Maximilian Schwetz, Matthew Sharpe (CAN) and Alarza (ESP), but then fell away on the second lap as Sharpe and Switzerland’s Florin Salvisberg led out of the water into T1.
A large lead group of 21 then formed on the first lap of the bike but their size didn’t hamper their time and they worked hard to keep the chase pack at a gap of one minute for almost all of the eight-lap 40km bike. Led mostly by Sweden’s Joel Vikner, Italy’s Andrea De Ponti, Russia’s Andrey Bryukhankov and Barbardos Jason Wilson, many took turns as they kept the watts and time ticking over.
Behind them the initial two chase groups merged together halfway through, bringing Wian Sullwald, David Uccellari and Tom Bishop together, and they did manage to cut the gap to just 30 seconds entering T2. However it proved too late as the leaders wasted no time pulling away from the field.
After the first lap there was a clear group of six, Le Corre, Alarza, Wilson, Salvisberg, Russia’s Igor Polyanskiy and Italy’s Matthias Steinwandter. Polyanskiy dropped off first and then Steinwandter started to fall off just as they entered the final lap. From there an intriguing battle ensued with the eventual medallists, before Le Corre pulled out the killer final burst to win in a quick time of 1 hour 42 minutes and 47 seconds.
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